Jun. 19—There have been no shortage of strange sights on the local high school fields throughout the pandemic. Athletes wearing masks, seven on seven field hockey, football tryouts on snow covered fields and plenty more.
But a Friday morning state tournament wrestling meet being held outdoors? That might take the cake.
In what may have been the first state tournament event held in Massachusetts since March of 2020, the undefeated Triton wrestling team opened its postseason with a decisive 27-13 win over Gloucester in the Division 3 North Semifinals. The meet started at 9:30 a.m. and was held under beautiful blue skies at the Triton Regional High School stadium.
"It was different, it was fun," said Triton coach Shawn McElligott. "Our kids were up for it and we just did what we had to do."
Facing a shorthanded Gloucester team that only went 1-7 in the regular season, Triton won relatively easily, needing only three victories on the mat plus two forfeit wins to take the meet. Lucas Bistany started things off by swiftly winning his 126-pound match, getting a pin only 21 seconds in, and Dylan Karpenko later followed that up with another quick pin at 138, this one in 28 seconds.
Sandwiched between those was Chris Montes' decisive 13-7 victory over Gloucester standout Dan Beaton at 132. Montes was in control throughout and led by as much as 13-4 late before allowing three late points in an effort to avoid any potentially dangerous situations. Tori Orender and Alex Montes also won by forfeit at 106 and 145 respectively, and Tyler Nason and Hunter Parrott lost competitive matchups by decision to help limit Gloucester's point output.
"That's our constant conversation, saving team points, so we saved five team points right there," McElligott said of Nason and Parrott's results. "We're moving guys to go against their guys just to take points away."
That strategic focus has paid off for Triton (9-0) in dual meets throughout the year — and throughout the program's history in general — and now the Vikings are one win away from capturing a sectional title. The Vikings will host the winner of Monday's semifinal match between Marblehead-Swampscott and Tyngsborough next Wednesday in what could be another outdoor meet, weather and conditions permitting.
Triton 27, Gloucester 13
Division 3 North Semifinals
106: Tori Orender by forfeit; 126: Lucas Bistany by pin 0:21; 132: Chris Montes dec. 13-7; 138: Dylan Karpenko by pin 0:28; 145: Alex Montes by forfeit
Records: Gloucester 1-8, Triton 9-0